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ANC ‘working speedily’ to implement free higher education for the poor

President Jacob Zuma announced last week that government will subsidise free education.

Naledi Pandor at the ANC national conference. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says it’s working speedily to implement free higher education for the poor and the so-called missing middle.

President Jacob Zuma announced last week that government will subsidise free education.

This is despite the Heher Commission’s finding that doing so is not viable at this stage and suggesting that other funding models be explored.

WATCH: Resolutions on education, health & technology briefing

The ANC has reported back on the Commissions on Education, Health and Technology.

Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor says the ANC has welcomed the announcement on free education.

Pandor says the commission resolved that free tertiary education for certain groups should be implemented from next year.

Added to this, attention will be given to historically disadvantaged institutions.

“Given the existing agreement; the funding formula for higher education should be adjusted upwards, there will be benefits for the historically disadvantaged institutions.”

The commission has not yet discussed how free tertiary education for certain groups will be funded.

Pandor says they’re working to implement this as per the president’s announcement.

But she says literacy levels need to improve.

“Department of Basic Education must intensify efforts to improve literacy and numeracy within the school system and all grades, but most particularly at the foundation level of schooling.”

While Zuma made the surprise announcement, he made no mention of how the government will be subsiding free education.

The commission has also given no information on how this will be done. It says Finance Minister Malusi Gibaba will during the budget speech in February.

Pandor adds an urgent meeting will be held with tertiary institutions to discuss this.

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